Merriment! Stress! Hard work! Mistakes! Learning-process! Socialisation! Clearly, the facial expression I gave each waking morning to work gave my inner-being a state of how my day was going to look like and end. I always dreamt of seeing myself countless times going back into the classroom. I love to teach and I like it when I make an impact on a life. The thought of it gives me joy and fills my head with memories.
This time around, Fate called me out of my comfort zone and told me to challenge myself with a new trend. I could have said “No” when the opportunity came. Initially, I objected to the idea of having to work in a corporate world because I felt it wasn’t my calling. A lot of people fantasise about working in a recognised organisation and I think I might have had fantasies in the past. I’d imagine myself sitting behind a desk, wearing one of these stylish dresses and portraying myself like the C.E.O of the company—my kind of fantasy, with the help of God came true.
I end my one-year National Service Programme this August. Parliament Head Office or should I say, House of Parliament or better still, Office of Parliament. Whatever it is, my readers, I had mixed feelings each day and it was indescribable. This is what Fate has given me and I just don’t pay heed when onlookers think this is too much for me to handle. Forget about the comfortability, forget about the serene environment, and forget about the “l’argent” as some people claim we get practically every day, Forget about the “hype” we get when we walk in and out of the premises of the House.
It was an experience if you would ask me. Hopefully, these experiences acquired, will prepare us for the job market someday. Practically, I wouldn’t describe my experience as a gayety one because of the name of the institution. I would rather say that, it gave me the chance to look within my inner-being and right the wrong; explore more, and be very spontaneous. It tells me I don’t know it all. I have a lot of reading, learning and psyching to do as a young lady.
From the outset, I was a bit sad because, Politics, as a subject, is one I wouldn’t want to be engaged in for whatever reason. I have always had a different perception of how I see people in the Political terrain. Honestly, I see these people as intellectuals who will win an argument and prove to all that they have facts of what they talk about. I wouldn’t want to visualise myself as a “Parliamentarian”— -that was my “childish notion”.
On the other hand, at some point in time, I yearn to learn the political terms used by these Honourable Members in the Chamber, during parliamentary proceedings. Names, positions and constituencies of these Senior Members were sometimes difficult to recall. I would ask myself, “What at all will I be using these for?”
WORK IN THE OFFICE
I was assigned to the Hansard Department which was also known as the Official Report Department. In this department, I dealt with editing, proofreading and type-setting of the daily Hansard. The Hansard refers to an edited transcript (written record) of debates and proceedings in the Chamber. In the House of Parliament, the Hansard Reporters, do a thorough check of semantics, spelling, Cross-checking, sentence fragment and construction of sentences, reporting, and some editorial work and type-settings. The final work on the Hansard is the bound volume. The bound volume is a compilation of all the Hansards for a particular meeting into one complete volumebook.
My knowledge in English language, as many would say, is a build- up to what I was assigned to do in the office. The nature of the work, tedious as it seems, was flexible to me as a service person. The perception is, most graduates who do National Service are inexperienced and don’t have the know-how on the job yet. To some, they saw us to be amateur.
I wouldn’t have considered this sector in the least. The one-year experience with staff, Fellow interns, national service personnel, some senior members and interactions with some Honourable Members was an exhilarating feeling.
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”- of course pay people with kindness and a good attitude.
It was difficult accepting different views and opinions in the office and within the department. In my previous experiences, I learnt to tolerate views and to accept people regardless of what life threw at me.
The entrance of the office of Parliament is guarded by security men and women, and I must say most of them would describe me as the young lady who comes to work with her earphones in her ears, who would smile and call them by names to greet them.
The food vendors around Kofi Annan Training Institute, and the MP’s’ Coffee Shop would describe me as the young, smallish lady who wouldill always speak in a silky voice when buying. I made lots of friends in different departments and made sure to call people by their names.
How would people in my office describe me? Some might have a different view of my work ethics and relationship with them. Through it all, it was fun and the experience is unforgettable. Most of them, I called “Uncles and Aunties”; some saw me as their little sister and would never cease the opportunity to advise me.
Here is a reality check for every young professional out there: if you live and work simply to impress or please others, or to gain a positive affirmation and praise of those around you, then you are either setting yourself up for failure or a total misery because people will not always praise you; even when you do your ultimate best. Your pursuit of excellence should not be motivated by your desire to hear “Job well done” from a Boss, a Supervisor, a Colleague, an Honourable Member or a Senior Member. It should, however, be fueled by that deep yearning to fulfill your unique calling, and to impact your sphere of influence in a major way. Your entire life will change the moment you decide to stop living and working simply to please others; because when the standards of those around you become the benchmark of success, it is impossible to know what you are truly capable of achieving. If you want to progress in your career, then start drawing on immenrse power and talents that are inside of you, and stop building yourself up for the affirmation of others.
The one-year experience did me good. God came through for me most of the time. I became spontaneous and outgoing most of the time, and I started my journey in blogging with the help of a colleague; I made mistakes and learnt from them. I succeeded in my search for a Job; I failed in some interviews; I passed some tests. I was sad at a point in time; I laughed out loud; I ate well; I grew fatter and prettier! It was an exhilarating experience.